Under the Lisbon Agenda, the EU has made structural funding available to small and medium-size businesses to help them increase their productivity through technological advancement. They are invited to apply for grants and other financial aid, however there is an urgent need to increase SME's access to dedicated EU funds and other financial instruments.
Microsoft in Europe has developed a programme, the EU Grants Advisor (EUGA) designed to increase small and mid-size businesses' awareness and understanding of EU funds, as well as to facilitate the application process for those wishing to take advantage of funds for which they are eligible. Through this initiative, Microsoft in partnership with other leading IT and financial services companies and together with community partners, such as Chambers of Commerce and Local Associations, offers broad information and resources on available funds, provides streamlined application processes to reduce paperwork, and offers ICT guidance for productivity enhancement programmes. The goal is to make it easier for European entrepreneurs to gain informed access to the funds they need to grow their businesses.
The EUGA programme is an online and offline service for SMEs and Local and Regional Governments, designed to support them with their financial solutions for ICT related investments. As SME's navigate the dedicated website, they will find a wealth of information to help them take advantage of these funds, from assessing their eligibility for grants, accessing details about the grants, understanding the steps they need to take and identifying independent consultants who will assist them with the application process.
Enabling SMEs to gain quicker access to a range of funding (EU structural funds) made available by governmental bodies to help them acquire IT and in turn allowing them to modernise their businesses, thus increasing their productivity and their ability to innovate.
- Successful pilot projects have been undertaken in Spain, Hungary and Poland.
- Eleven of the 25 eligible countries will initially participate, including: Czech Republic, Netherlands, UK, France, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Spain and Italy.